Srinagar, Feb 14: Days after Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) issued a notice asking people to vacate from banks of Doodh Ganga Nallah, Mayor SMC, Junaid Azim Mattu on Tuesday said “not a single structure on the bank of canal would be dismantled.”
He made this statement after the people took to the streets to protest SMC's decision. The protesters expressed concern that their homes would be demolished.
Clearing the air, Mattu, in this connection, held a meeting with the residents living on the banks of the Doodh Ganga and assured them that no colonies will be displaced, nor will any houses be demolished—including the downtrodden colonies and slum settlements on this stretch.
He said that the Doodhganga Canal Restoration and Rejuvenation Project, was an essential flood mitigation project, which would primarily assist the people living in the colonies of Aloochi Bagh, Haft Chinar, Batamaloo, and Chattabal.
The mayor promised the citizens that not a single residential colony, even slum structures, would be disturbed or damaged by this project.
He denounced conventional troublemakers and agent provocateurs who were upsetting the populace and disseminating false information.
"The public notice that has been issued does not apply to residential colonies, dwellings, or constructions and concerns encroachments, obstructions, and physical encroachments within and on top of the canal. This project will not result in the demolition of any homes,” Mayor said.
He added, “I can assure the locals that this won't be permitted. The long-standing problem of localised urban floods and waterlogging in these areas will be resolved by this restoration project, contrary to what is being falsely promoted by vested interests.”
The mayor also stated unequivocally that any attempts to link SMC to the ongoing land eviction and drive to recover state land were false and part of a larger scheme by a specific political party to spread misinformation and rumours. “Neither at the policy level nor during execution, SMC is not involved in the ongoing drive in any manner, shape, or form."
He further said that SMC will abide by the judgements of the Supreme Court on the matter and work towards proposing the provision of dignity and rights to all slum dwellers. “Those trying to hide their own greed and decades of misrule and misappropriation of public resources behind this misinformation campaign should introspect and understand the human costs and consequences of their provocations and instigations over the past three decades.”
Mattu said that the penchant to provoke and instigate the poor, common man on the street has filled our graveyards in Srinagar with our youth, while they have given their own children very contrasting lives. "We need no lectures from the murderers and tormentors of the children of Srinagar."
He said that those outspoken conscience keepers and supporters of economically disadvantaged urban slum dwellers in Srinagar should be questioned about why, despite being repeatedly elected as legislators, they have failed to provide the slum dwellers in Srinagar with a life of dignity and respect for the past 40 years.
"In my humble capacity as Mayor, I, along with fellow Corporators and officers, have ensured that numerous steps were taken to improve their day-to-day lives and extended basic facilities to these areas after they were deprived of these basic rights for decades by the same shameless people pretending to be sympathizers today," he said.
The Doodhganga Rejuvenation and Restoration Project, for example, the mayor claimed, is being carried out under rigorous guidelines to ensure that there is no room for misunderstanding.